DSDI Annual Congress | Philadelphia 2021

Dear DSDI Members –

The DSDI is planning to return to Philadelphia for our July 3-4, 2021 Annual Congress. As of March, all events will be the same as planned for 2020.

As we await decisions from the host hotel, the city, and the National Park Service, we understand that our plans may be altered.

Information will be posted as soon as it is available to us, and we encourage you to check the home page of the website for updates. More specific details will appear in the Members Only section.

Thank you.

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Inspiration From Our Biggest Challenges

President-General’s Message Winter 2021

Hello All.

Sometimes the best inspiration comes from our most difficult challenges. 

Recently The Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks commented that William Shakespeare wrote two of his best plays, “Macbeth” and “King Lear,” in the middle of a plague. (Critic’s Notebook: Waiting out a pandemic—and for our ‘King Lear’). London’s public places, including theaters, were in lockdown. Shakespeare was inspired and survived that pandemic 400 years ago. We relish his results.

American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift recently talked at length about her concern in a lockdown at her home in Upstate New York in 2020. She wandered in her home for several days until she realized she could do more than worry. Swift texted her contacts and found she could create her own studio there in the bedroom. The results became her new album “Folklore,” widely applauded in appreciation of her work during her isolation.

Last summer, my husband and I decided to buy another kayak to explore Maryland. These inexpensive boats have given us exercise, fresh air and new ideas to learn. We found it took time to find a kayak: Thousands of folks had found the same idea of finding therapy for our minds and bodies in a safer environment. We waited a few weeks until the kayaks became available again. For us, it was worth the wait.

Meanwhile, the virus has inspired scientific research and production of the fresh vaccines. Change is coming, but we will have to wait. Come Spring, we’ll have to move our planned Princeton meeting to Fall and replace our Spring Meeting with a fascinating Virtual Trip to Oregon. We wish we could shake hands instead of seeing each other in a Zoom meeting but we will keep DSDI in a safer environment. But when Summer comes, we are counting on change so we can meet together in person in Philadelphia, July 2021, for DSDI’s Annual Congress.

Please add this to your calendar:

“Virtual Oregon” in Zoom

              March 12, 2021, 3pm Board Meeting

              March 13, 2021, 7pm, General Meeting

Philadelphia in Person! Celebrate July 3-4, 2021, Fourth of July Weekend for all ages

With best wishes for a healthy, happy 2021,



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Spring DSDI Meeting “Virtual Oregon” March 12-13, 2021

Plan for a “Virtual Oregon” trip for the DSDI Spring Meeting March 12-13, 2021 in a Zoom meeting.

Although we won’t be able to meet together in person this Spring, we will have a Board Meeting Friday, March 12, 3pm, and a General Meeting Saturday, March 13, 7pm. We promise a fun trip to the Northwest by Zoom. Stay tuned in the “Members Only” in our DSDI website, in our private DSDI Facebook and in a Blast in early March.

To protect our members from Covid, we moved our planned Princeton April meeting to October 2021. We still plan to meet in Philadelphia for our Annual Congress 2021 for the July 4 weekend.

Members: Send us your email address if you have not done by registrar1776@dsdi1776.com.


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DSDI 2020 Fall Meeting | Virtual Trip to Newport, RI

How lucky we were to explore Newport, Rhode Island, in October for our Virtual Fall Meeting 2020. We walked along the cliffs smelling the salty sea, shopped and ate at the harbor, had tea in one of those enormous “cottages” then said thanks at a 1700-century church. We raced incredible yachts, toasted our members, voted about our future and celebrated after our meetings, all for free using a bit of imagination.

Member Shelley Cruz created a remarkable show on Zoom as we explored lovely Newport. A few months ago, none of us knew how to share our thoughts this way. By October many of us had become savvy and able to assist others while we learned to vote and to create our Roll Call naming our ancestors by Chat. We listened to our Board as we improved our website and how we have spread the news of our Signers and our organization thanks to members’ donations. We were inspired by our scholarships, wrote about our Signers’ wives and discussed ways to reach out to others. We found we are needed to volunteer!

Granted, our photos in our screenshots look a lot like the Brady Bunch, but it was a fantastic experience to get to know each other. Many of us waited after the presentation Saturday night and found we could stay and chat, getting to know each other more. It would have been wonderful to shake hands and sit down for a good drink and dinner, but we’ll have to wait until we are safe again with vaccinations. Lots of fun together again in the future!

To see Shelley’s Trip to Newport in YouTube, visit https://youtu.be/o7QUcfoorTU.


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United We Stand

Hello DSDI Members. We are celebrating after a very short but productive trip to Philadelphia ringing our Liberty Bell for the 244th celebration. As you know, DSDI’s decision was difficult this Spring as we realized we could not allow our children and their families to be exposed to COVID-19 as the cases in Philly continued to rise. The National Park Service was flexible, inviting us to move our annual celebration in Philly from 2020 to 2021. Our host and hostess, Gene and Carol Mayhew, and their daughter Stacy Clements, made calls to every bell tapper so all could move to the following scheduled years ahead. We much appreciate their efforts. Still, someone had to stand up and be counted for DSDI July 4th so we wouldn’t lose our incredible annual opportunity to ring our Bell, now and in the future.

The City of Philadelphia allowed less than 25 people in the building. Only one DSDI member was invited for the July 4thcelebration, allowing to tap the Bell but not to speak. We were included in the press release from organizers Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution. Despite travel, heat, cancelled hotel with 53 others, threatening COVID-19, limited restaurants, required masks to wear, scheduled protests and more, my supportive husband and I managed to arrive at the designated hour. We exchanged pleasantries with NPS, PSSR and all those who were invited by NPS to ring our Bell. As directed, we left immediately after the presentation and jumped on the highway for home. Protests began at Independence Hall within the hour, well covered by the Media. DSDI was mentioned in many news stories.

All of these thoughts remind me of our 56 Signers and their families. Our challenges are so small by comparison of what they did for us. Let’s look ahead for Philly 2021. Did you know Alexander Hamilton lived there for a time? Did you know there is a Legoland outside Philly? Did you know that Signer Robert Morris’s large statue still draws white plastic utensils? Fun ahead for all of us as we plan for Philly 2021.

Lucy Duke Tonacci

DSDI President-General

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In This Together: Exploring the world with DSDI

Using masks make me nervous. With them I can’t see others’ faces and often can’t hear what they are saying. I see folks hiding behind their masks, ignoring others in what used to be our shared spaces. I miss reading their thoughts.

But happily, I observe more folks sharing and supporting each other every day. We still need each other. We need to speak to each other; to call and email each other. The virus has taken a lot from us but has brought us to higher levels. I had no idea that we could have a cocktail party, a college course and travel around the world for free in my own safe home through ZOOM. It’s fascinating and a lot of fun to see friends I had not been able to visit.

That’s where DSDI comes in. Did you get my email, DSDI website or Facebook messages about my trip to Philadelphia July 4? If you missed it, please check us out on our website: www.dsdi1776.com. We need your email addresses if you haven’t provided them already. But next:

DSDI members are cordially invited to:

DSDI’s Fall Meeting in a

Virtual Weekend in Newport, Rhode Island

Friday, Oct. 23-Saturday, Oct. 24 in ZOOM.

Oct. 23, 3pm ET Board meeting

Oct. 24, 7pm ET General meeting

Plan with us for cocktails and dinner before the meeting, and have a drink afterwards as we chat. It’s likely that we’ll have Breakout ZOOM rooms so we can enjoy each other’s company. Stay tuned…and send me your email addresses ASAP so you don’t miss anything.

Lucy Duke Tonacci, DSDI President-General

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About the Declaration: an evolution in printed copies

The Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress on July 4, 1776.  The approved wording was then turned over to the printer John Dunlap to compose and print copies.  On July 5, about 200 copies of the first printing of the Declaration were delivered to Congress.

The two names appearing in the document were those of John Hancock, the President of Congress, and Charles Thomson, the Secretary of Congress. Their names were printed, not written.

This document is known to history as the Dunlap Broadside.

This was the official Declaration of Independence document for the next seven months.  It was reprinted frequently, appearing in newspapers and other place.  Copies are rare.  Only 26 of the original Broadside have been located, 23 in the United States and 3 in Great Britain.

Fifty members of Congress signed a slightly redesigned copy of the Declaration on August 2, 1776.  Several more signed upon returning to Congress in the fall.  The 56th and final signer of the Declaration was Thomas McKean, who did so in January 1777.  The completed document was then printed and sent to each of the 13 colonies.  It became the official document of the Declaration of Independence.

Here is a version of what we know today.

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History is celebrated and made with “Let Freedom Ring” ceremony

Independence National Historical Park will host the annual symbolic ringing of the Liberty Bell this July 4th with the tapping of the famed Liberty Bell 13 times at precisely 2 p.m. EDT, the time designated by the 1963 Joint Resolution 25 of the U.S. Congress.  The ceremony known as “Let Freedom Ring” has been sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution (PSSR) and its Color Guard since 1969, but this year will be held only as a virtual celebration.

The Bell’s inscription from The Bible, “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof” was ordered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s 1701 Charter establishing self-government and religious freedom in Pennsylvania.

Originally called the “State House Bell” the bell first became known as the “Liberty Bell” in the 1830s, when it was adopted as a symbol by the abolitionist movement.  Women’s suffrage activists, civil rights leaders, and others have used this bell as their symbol in the fight for equality. The Liberty Bell is recognized today as a world-wide symbol of freedom.

This year on July 4th, several descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence will don gloves (and masks) to tap the Bell, including Lucy Duke Tonacci, the incoming President of The Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, who is descended from Virginia’s Richard Henry Lee; and William Douglas Banks II, Joseph Edward Aubrey Banks and Zechariah Williams – three children of Reverend W. Douglas Banks, who is the fifth generation grandson of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.

Independence National Historic Park Superintendent Cynthia MacLeod and Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution President Ben Ramsay Wolf, Sr. will officiate in this brief, safe-distance commemoration.

Lieutenant John Edward James, Jr., will attend as a special guest and honorary bell-tapper. He has just celebrated his 100th birthday and his second year as an officer in the U.S. Army after being denied promotion for his service during World War II because of race. He is a long-time member of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution.  The tapping ceremony will also include Eric Edward L. Guenther, Jr., Captain of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution’s Color Guard and Ben Ramsay Wolf, President of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution.

The in-person event at the Liberty Bell Center will signal a worldwide ringing of bells on porches with citizens signaling freedom and liberty with tapping of glasses, pots and pans.

“We anticipate a spontaneous celebration, at exactly 2:00 p.m. when neighbors from all of Philadelphia’s 38 neighborhoods take to their sidewalk or terrace at the precise moment to clink a glass or rap on a pot or ring some Christmas bells they found in their basement as a show of solidarity for liberty,” explained Ben Wolf.

He added, “in the recent weeks with the pandemic and rightful indignation of racial and religious inequalities, everyone is in need of demonstrating a positive way to proclaim the rights and freedoms symbolized by the Liberty Bell.”

Every person in Philadelphia, the region, the nation and around the world can participate and show their expression of freedom with comments, photos and video clips using #LetFreedomRing2020.

The program will be live-streamed globally, with simultaneous bell-ringing participation by United States naval ships around the world as well as churches, historic buildings and institutions across the country who have bells to toll.

The program can be viewed via live-stream on the PSSR Facebook page  – www.facebook.com/PSSR1776 and the Independence National Historical Park Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/IndependenceNHP.

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Zoom link for DSDI virtual meeting July 1, 2020

From: Donald Ward <donaldward35@yahoo.com>
Sent: Monday, June 22, 2020 9:47 AM
To: BRUCE LAUBACH <vabellring@msn.com>
Subject: DSDI July 1st General Meeting Zoom Link


Donald Ward is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.


Topic: DSDI General Meeting

Time: Jul 1, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting



Meeting ID: 991 0373 3126

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Meeting ID: 991 0373 3126


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At Monticello

Thomas Jefferson (aka Bill Barker) invites DSDI’s Lucy Duke Tonacci to Monticello
on the first day of opening June 13 after the coronavirus closing. Masks and
six-foot separation were required. Mr. Jefferson normally calls Lucy “Ms.
Lee” in recognition of her family Signer Richard Henry Lee.

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